Nova Lumos Netherlands Holding B.V. has just disclosed that it has raised about USD90 million to construct and build what it called a ‘pay-as-you-go”.
According sources at Bloomberg, the funding was raised from a mix of private equity investors and development banks to deploy the solar plant in Nigeria.
It’s the biggest fundraising round to date for the growing off-grid solar market, which seeks to provide cheaper and cleaner alternatives to the kerosene lamp for millions of people living in fuel poverty in Africa, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Lumos allows customers to pay for their solar power through mobile phone credit in partnership with telecommunications company, MTN Group Ltd. In the fundraising, another $40 million in equity came from a group led by Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund and existing investors VLTCM and ICV, according to the statement.
The fundraising round includes the $35 million that Nova Lumos already announced in September, said Nir Marom, Lumos co-founder, in a phone interview. “We have an unlimited opportunity here. Nigeria is getting a bad reputation and we’re finding it a good place to do business.”
The deal is another example of the growing investor interest in off-grid solar. London’s BBOXX Ltd. raised $20 million in equity in August, while d.light Energy Pvt Ltd. raised $15 million in September, according to BNEF.
“Lumos’s funding round shows pay-as-you-go solar in emerging markets is turning into a for-profit bet rather than an impact-driven experiment,” said Itamar Orlandi, BNEF analyst.
“If Lumos’s integration with local telcos succeeds, it could lead to far larger engagement of mobile brands in the off-grid energy sector in Africa.”
Other companies have also raised interest in investing in Nigeria’s solar and renewable energy sector. In August, Motir Dusable announced that it will invest and build a 300MW solar plant in Eastern par of Nigeria.